Monday, May 4, 2015

Living Topiary

There are two kinds of GMs in the world: GMs who hear “living topiary” and think that’s awesome…and GMs who hear “living topiary” and think nothing at all because a bush shaped like a lion just ate them.

In all seriousness, while living topiaries may sound a little silly (like getting attacked by Disney World after lights out), their stats make them anything but.  When you combine Hedge Stride (Sp) and Move through Hedges (Ex) with the healing Assimilate (Ex) ability—especially if you do it somewhere that PCs have limited mobility, like a hedge maze or thick undergrowth—you get a combatant that can take a lot of damage and then vanish, only to return again and again until the party is ground into the dirt.

Obviously, living topiaries are easy to find in creepy greenhouses and on the grounds of arcane academies and anywhere druids hang out.  Try these options on for size as well:

The Sundered Labyrinth was never meant to be a maze—or a deathtrap.  Designed by the saint Olivia of the Green, it was intended to gently guide the walker to its heart while encouraging contemplation.  But when Olivia was murdered by fiendish leucrottas, a mysterious rift scarred the labyrinth and the serene magic of the place turned dark.  The elephant-shaped topiaries, meant to represent important philosophical thinkers, have come to life and now hunt those who try to walk the Sundered Labyrinth’s twisted path.  Assuming adventures survive the plant creatures, they may still have to contend with Olivia’s slayers.

A leanan sidhe received her comeuppance when a one of her sculptor thralls managed to trap her in one of his creations.  Now petrified inside a statue of herself, the faerie can only glare with impotent hatred upon the world.  The power of her resentment and mythic might is so strong that it has leaked out and infused her surroundings, giving form to living topiaries that stalk in cat shape around her statue.

In the genie-blasted wastes of the Anvil, life persists despite the boiling heat and magical feedback.  The few hardy plants that remain in this region are so infused with sorcery that when their oases run dry they refuse to shrivel up; instead they gather themselves into living topiaries and lope across the plains looking for fresh water…or blood, if it comes to that.

Pathfinder Adventure Path #47 80–81 & Pathfinder Bestiary 4 181

Paizo’s ear for collective nouns strikes again: 5–7 living topiaries are a boscage.

A full ecology and customization options can be found in Pathfinder Adventure Path #47: Ashes at Dawn.

I'm pretty proud of the recent run of shows I've had, including this one. Give it a listen if you like—it's pretty summery!  Including a mini-"Dancing in the Streets" set for Baltimore and a shout-out to the Baltimore City Paper staff, as well as lots of Bowling for Soup.

(Link good till Friday, 5/8, at midnight. if the feed skips, Save As an mp3 and listen in iTunes.)

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